My friend and General Electric financial analyst Matt Janner is currently working in Dubai. He has sent me some wonderful articles about the emirate and one of its newest investments: “Dubai Healthcare City (DHCC).” Here is a brief summary of what I have gleaned from these articles.
Dubai is one of the fastest growing cities in the world. An autocratic city-state located in the United Arab Emirates, Dubai has transformed from a “sleepy pearl diving village to a modern metropolis.” For instance, a Washington Post article (“The Towering Dream of Dubai“) claims that GDP in the city has grown 45% in four years.
As part of its growth, Dubai officials are planning to build Healthcare City:
Healthcare City is one of the latest examples of what officials here call clustering: creating free-trade zones in the desert that, with marketing and infrastructure, attract cutting-edge companies and provide an engine for growth…By partnering with Harvard Medical School, the project hopes to create a global center for treatment, education and research. Tatweer is pouring $1.8 billion into the project, which will begin operating in 2009 and sprawl across 4.5 million square feet. The next phase will cover an area four times as big.
“People who needed treatment had to pick up and leave. They had to go to Europe, they had to go to the United States, they had to go to Asia,” Sharaf said. “This really is making a statement that you no longer have to go. We have the best of the world here.”
According to their brochure, firms in Healthcare City will not have to pay corporate tax, income tax, or customs duties and there will be no restrictions on capital, trade barriers or quotas. The Medical Center will include: an Academic Medical Center, Day Clinics, Private Hospitals, and small Clinics as well as Transplantation, Diagnostics, Rehabilitation, Biotechnology, Diabetes and Dialysis Centers.
Dubai’s modernization is truly astounding. The Guardian (“Boom town“) gives some statistics to put its growth into perspective:
The World Bank reckons that the reconstruction of Iraq is going to cost $53bn. Here, along the strip of footballer-friendly sand that stretches 25 miles or so along the shores of the Persian Gulf, there is, at a rough estimate, about $100bn worth of projects either underway or planned for the near future.
The article concludes:
…can Dubai do what Libya, Egypt, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, or almost anywhere else in the Arab world you might like to mention, have failed to do?…Is it, in embryo, what London was to the 19th century and Manhattan to the 20th? Not the modern centre of the Arab world but, more than that, the Arab centre of the modern world.